Callaway Says Yes to PGA Merchandise Show

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CALLAWAY COMMITS TO ORLANDO: Although Ping and Acushnet (Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra) have bowed out, Callaway Golf has decided it will attend the 2003 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla. But the company will bring less staff and will occupy a smaller booth ' and it will spend less money as a result of concessions by Reed Exhibition, the company that runs the show.
 
It was a long process of give and take, said Larry Dorman, Callaways senior vice president of global press and public relations of talks with Reed about Callaways participation in the 50-year-old show.
 
We basically aired our problems with the show, Dorman said, including some things that had to be overcome. And that included some onerous costs.
 
Callaway isnt sharing the exact numbers, but industry sources say the company spent about $3 million to exhibit at the 2002 show. That price includes booth rental, maintenance, product, staffing, travel and entertainment, and related costs. For 2003, Callaway plans to spend about half that, the sources say.
 
The reduced bill will be a result of cutbacks in both booth size and the number of Callaway staffers who come to Orlando. But concessions from Reed helped drop the tariff as well, sources say.
 
It wasnt a matter of getting [Callaway] to stay, said Chris McCabe, vice president and show manager for Reed. It was just about how they could best use the show.
 
Reed offered Callaway incentives under its VIP and anchor tenant programs, some of which will reduce Callaways booth rental and maintenance costs. Sources close to the situation say the abdication of the trade show stage by two major competitors also helped Callaway decide to continue with the show.
 
Ping announced before the 2002 show that although it had had good experiences with the PGA Show, its marketing money would be better spent in more targeted initiatives that would not share the stage with other companies. Acushnet, long said to be scrutinizing its trade show spending, came to a similar conclusion soon after the 2002 show.
 
Industry observers predicted that if Callaway left, the shows importance to the industry would all but evaporate.
 
Thats a hypothetical, and I dont like to deal in hypotheticals, McCabe said. There was never a day when I didnt think [Callaway wasnt] going to participate. It was just a matter of how.
 
We didnt want to be the ones to kill the PGA Show, Dorman said. We see value there.
 
GOLF ROUNDS DOWN: The latest figures from Golf Datatech and the National Golf Course Owners Association show rounds down 6.1 percent nationwide in May compared to May 2001, and down 3.2 percent year-to-date compared to last year. Fourteen of the 15 regions measured showed a decrease; only New England (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut) was up, and that only 1.1 percent for the month. The East North Central region (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin) was down 15.6 percent for May.
 
Things are worse in Canada, relatively anyway: Alberta saw a 31.4 percent drop in rounds played this May.